Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Sale!

A Sale!  watercolor and ink by Meera Rao 

In Mysuru, southern India, even now the peddlers load up a cart with sundry items and push it around the neighborhoods looking for buyers. I saw many different peddlers pushing a variety of things - pots and pans, plastic housewares or  sarees and other clothing items, sheets and blankets, balloons and toys etc everyday through the streets.  This one stopped around long enough for me to photograph as the lady was taking her own sweet time deciding what to buy.  She inspected various items from his cart and finally settled on a dust pan. 

I read that in 2013 the Karnataka state government launched a program to try to replicate the success of Bangaladeshi banker and Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus extending micro credit to street vendors. It launched Mysore City Street Vendors Multipurpose Cooperative Society, which had a seed money of Rs 5 crore to attend to the needs of street vendors in the city. The society, which is to be developed as a cooperative bank later, to lend small loan to the street vendors who are too poor to qualify for bank loans. The society's office was located close to my daily runs during my stay and I hope that this initiative is a success. 

A Sale!  5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal

Monday, February 8, 2016

Afternoon Siesta

Afternoon Siesta  watercolor and ink by Meera Rao

"Only mad dogs and English men go out in the noon day sun"
-Rudyard Kipling

When I saw this fellow taking a power nap in the middle of the day, looking quite comfortable on a mattress propped inside his autoriksha, I had to sketch him.  He was on a side street - directly in view from my balcony ! I quickly took a couple of photos just in case he woke up and went off, then set to sketch him. I had enough time to finish the sketch but colored it later.   

Afternoon siestas used to be the norm everywhere in India.  I remember my father, grandfather always came home from work for lunch at mid day, took a nap and then went back to work during the cooler part of the afternoon and evening.  Now it is a luxury enjoyed by few who can rearrange their day to their liking! Whoever is home during mid day, the elderly, the retired, the housewives, kids  and a few lucky folks who are their own bosses, all take a nap almost everyday. No one goes knocking at  someone's door during the afternoon! 

I quickly adapted to mid day power naps too during my stay in India.  It has to be power naps  because longer naps makes one groggy the rest of the day and wide eyed awake at night! I always set an alarm but it was so hard to make myself getup when it went off! As recent studies show, the mid day nappers especially in the tropics were on to something. They are not lazy slackers. As this article "7 surprising benefits of an afternoon nap"  explains they knew its power to influence the overall wellbeing, boost energy and increase productivity among other things :)  And more importantly, for us artists: 'Daytime sleep can, “enhance creative thinking, boost cognitive processing, improve memory recall and generally clear out the cobwebs," James Maas and Rebecca Robbins, co-founders of Sleep for Success, wrote in The New York Times.  :)  That ought to be a good reason to squeeze in my nap habit now that I am back in USA!

Btw, I am the Artist of the Month displaying at the Poquoson Public Library during February.  I am sharing the wall with a friend who is showing his photography for the first time. Here is a photograph showing the half with my paintings.  Please stop by if you are in the neighborhood :) 

Wall with my paintings at Poquoson Public Library  as February Artist of the Month 2016 

time for afternoon siesta  5.5x8" watercolor and ink on 140 lb Strathmore visual Journal 

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